2001-08-18 / Front Page

Training Center For Far Rockaway By Howard Schwach

Training Center For Far Rockaway By Howard Schwach


Port Authority Executive Director Neil Levin presents a check for $500 thousand to Congressman Gregory Meeks and Assemblywoman Pauline - Rhodd Cummings outside of 6200 Beach Channel Drive. The money will be used to develop an aviation and health career training center in the abandoned building. Pictured, from left, Ronald Thomas, the Associate Dean at York College, Congressman Meeks, Peter Nelson, the head of the Addabbo Health Center, Assemblywoman Cummings, Peter Magnani, from the Queens Borough President's office, Neil Levin and Curtis Archer, executive director of the RDRC.Port Authority Executive Director Neil Levin presents a check for $500 thousand to Congressman Gregory Meeks and Assemblywoman Pauline - Rhodd Cummings outside of 6200 Beach Channel Drive. The money will be used to develop an aviation and health career training center in the abandoned building. Pictured, from left, Ronald Thomas, the Associate Dean at York College, Congressman Meeks, Peter Nelson, the head of the Addabbo Health Center, Assemblywoman Cummings, Peter Magnani, from the Queens Borough President's office, Neil Levin and Curtis Archer, executive director of the RDRC.

If plans coalesce and the promised money becomes available, Rockaway will soon have a state of the art training facility that will prepare young residents for careers in the airline industry and in health care.

The development of the training center, to be called "The Rockaway Education and Health Center, began last Monday when The Port Authority presented a grant of $500 thousand to the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation’s (RDRC) executive director, Curtis Archer. The presentation was made in front of the dilapidated building at 6200 Beach Channel Drive, which will one day house the training facility. The RDRC is the lead organization in putting the proposal and the funding together.

The revitalization of the building and its infrastructure will amount to a total of $21 million.

Those who attended the presentation, however, were optimistic that the funding would soon be in place and that the facility would be open and in operation by late 2002 or early 2003.

"This is the beginning of great things for the peninsula," said Pauline Rhodd-Cummings, the local Assemblywoman. "Our young people will have the opportunity to go to college and to prepare for a career right here on the peninsula."

The facility, a collaborative effort between York College, The College of Aeronautics, the Addabbo Health Center and the Port Authority, will train locals for jobs as mechanics, ticket agents, air traffic controllers and as ground crew.

"Aviation is one of the largest employers in Queens," says Governor George Pataki. "JFK and LaGuardia support more than 167,000 jobs and new opportunities are created every day."

In addition, according to Archer, York College will be involved in training home health care aides.

"About 23 percent of the minority males in this community are unemployed," Archer said. "This facility will give them an opportunity for jobs in our large health care industry."

Cummings reportedly obtained $150 thousand from the state for a feasibility study of the facility and another $650 thousand toward revitalizing the building.

Other public and private funding has been made available as well.

The Queens Borough President has kicked in $2 million; Councilwoman Juanita Watkins, $1.1 million; Congressman Greg Meeks, $1.5 million; The City Housing Trust, $10 thousand and the City’s Housing Authority, $1 million.

At the ceremony, Meeks thanked the Port Authority for its grant.

The Port Authority’s contribution to the Far Rockaway Education and Training Center is an important step in their continuing effort to train our youth for the 21st Century."

Port Authority Executive Director, Neil Levin, agreed.

"One of the best ways we can help the Queens community is by training today’s youth for jobs that pay well and promise an exciting future," Levin said. "Graduates of this program will have a chance to learn the latest technology and prepare themselves for a dynamic industry."

Archer says that more funding will soon be on line.

The site was formerly a school for special-needs children.

Public hearings on the plan will be held in the coming months.


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